Shop the fall collection ➔

I got a text from my dad one day that had a picture of two cans of Manwich and he wanted to know how to make Sloppy Joes. I told him that he had to cook some ground beef and I asked him if he got any at the store. He told me that he didn’t because he thought it came in the can.

I didn’t even know how to respond. It both warmed and broke my heart at the same time.

My mom and dad always had a very old school, traditional marriage.

My dad worked a full-time and a part-time job, while my mom was a housewife and stay-at-home mom. She took care of everything inside the house to include cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, paying bills, etc. She also took care of my sister and me. My dad took care of everything outside the house. He fixed things that were broken, cut the grass, and took out the trash.

That all came to a grinding halt when my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s over nine years ago. She eventually forgot how to do all of the things she normally did around the house. She wasn’t allowed to drive anymore, so she could no longer run errands or go grocery shopping. She couldn’t be trusted to pay the bills or balance the checkbook. She forgot how to use the oven and the washing machine. She even forgot that she was supposed to cook dinner and do the laundry to begin with.

My dad was still working full-time in the beginning and then he would come home to manage the household, as well. He never had to handle any of the household chores and he honestly had no idea what he was doing. He never cooked, cleaned, or did the laundry. I don’t think he even knew where the grocery store was. Many things simply went undone because my dad didn’t know any better.

But then, I began to notice a shift in their relationship.

I began getting text messages from my dad asking me how to use the washing machine and whether or not they had a dishwasher. He started asking me how to cook things and whether or not to separate the whites from the rest of the laundry. I know he was overwhelmed, but he somehow managed it all.

He eventually retired early to care for my mom full-time. His life took a drastic turn. My dad was old school. He was used to his wife taking care of him. Now, he was taking care of her as well as being there for my sister and me and eventually, his two granddaughters. An old school, stubborn Irishman, surrounded by women who needed him now more than ever.

And boy, did he deliver.

Not only does my dad do the laundry, grocery shopping, and pay all the bills, but he also manages my mom’s care.

Not only does he bathe her, dress her, and help her use the bathroom, but he also orders her new bras, clothes, and protective underwear.

The man who couldn’t even tell the difference between red and pink went to the store to buy nail polish so the in-home health aides could paint my mom’s nails.

The man who never picked out a birthday, anniversary, or Christmas card now spends entirely too much time in the store selecting the perfect one to send each of us.

My dad, the strong silent type, looked up the right colors for a 50th anniversary and bought flowers, balloons, and decorations to match. He even dressed my mom in those colors on the day of their 50th anniversary and had her long-time hairdresser come to the house to do her hair.

My dad, the man’s man, bought and set up a pink tablecloth with pink plates, pink party hats, and pink noisemakers in their kitchen so that my mom could be there to celebrate their granddaughter’s first birthday. He also bought Minnie Mouse balloons and an obnoxious, ginormous, inflated unicorn.

Picturing my dad in that store, picking out all of that stuff . . .

He stepped up.

Like any man would do for his family, my dad stepped up.

And there will never be enough words or ways to thank him.

You may also like:

I Thought Stay-at-Home Moms Had it Easy—Until I Tried To Be One

She’s My Wife

Lauren Dykovitz

Lauren Dykovitz is a writer and author. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two black labs. Her mom, Jerie, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010 at age 62. Lauren was only 25 years old at the time. Jerie passed away in April 2020 after a ten-year battle with Alzheimer's. Lauren writes about her experience on her blog, Life, Love, and Alzheimer’s. She has also been a contributing writer for several other Alzheimer’s blogs and websites. Lauren self-published her first book, Learning to Weather the Storm: A Story of Life, Love, and Alzheimer's. She is also a member of AlzAuthors, a group of authors who have written books about Alzheimer’s and dementia. Please visit lifeloveandalzheimers.com to read more about Lauren’s journey.

I Struggled With My Son’s Diagnosis, But Found Hope in the Special Needs Community

In: Fatherhood, Tough Times

When I found out I was going to be a father I was beyond excited. My wife and I had been trying to conceive for years before she got pregnant. So, when she told me I was going to be a father I wanted to shout it to the rooftops! I made sure to call my wife every day at work to make sure she ate lunch. I’m sure I annoyed the heck out of her. We later found out that we were having a boy, and started to plan everything. We started to paint the baby room with blues...

Keep Reading

People Don’t Know How to Deal With Those Who Are Grieving

In: Tough Times

Cousins. Aunts. Uncles. Grandparents. Friends. Friends of the Family. Dad. Wife. I’ve known loss. If you are reading this, chances are you have, too. For all the many, many wakes and funerals I have been to, one thing has continuously occurred to me. The wake is so much easier than the funeral. When I sit back and think about why that is, I can only come to one conclusion: support. There is so much support at a wake. At least in my circle of love, they usually last over six hours and the room is usually filled to near capacity....

Keep Reading

Dear Husband: It’s OK to Be Depressed, But You Can’t Ignore it

In: Marriage, Tough Times

Dear husband, we need to have a real conversation. You are the first to admit that lately things have changed for you. Things that used to be simple for you suddenly feel impossible and require so much energy. Getting out of bed is hard. It feels so much better to stay in bed and avoid it all. Tackling household projects and chores just feels like too much. So, you ignore them. Taking care of yourself by eating healthy and exercising doesn’t sound appealing at all. But, boy, do chips and salsa, brownies, and sitting on the couch sound like comfort....

Keep Reading

Don’t Miss the Chance to Tell Your Mom You Love Her

In: Fatherhood, Tough Times

This is my Mom. Well, that’s her in the mid-1960s. But that’s her—that little girl, full of life. Before life started happening. Before traumas. Before abuses. Before a turbulent adolescence. Before an unplanned kid (me). Before an abusive relationship. Before navigating her way through an era, and in an area, where having three kids and being unwed was frowned upon and judged. Before working two full-time jobs to feed us—one a 3rd-shift factory job, and the other a day job as an administrative assistant at the local college. Before she got the day job, she worked full-time and went to...

Keep Reading

I Was an Addict. Thanks to God, I Have My Life Back.

In: Faith, Tough Times

“There’s something wrong with Daddy.” That’s what rock bottom sounds like. I thought he was too little to notice. I couldn’t fool my wife, my brother, my boss, myself, but I thought he was too little to notice. Alone on a couch at 3:00 in the morning, desperate to stop shaking, desperate to slow the racing anxiety, desperate to die and be done with it all. That’s what rock bottom feels like. RELATED: Dax Shepard’s Relapse Reminds Us Recovery is a Daily Process My wife had banished me to that couch. She was angry but she didn’t do that out...

Keep Reading

A Letter to My Wife’s Anxiety: You Will Never Win

In: Marriage, Tough Times

Your name gets thrown around a lot in our current social clime. Anxiety. Everything gives people anxiety now. We never heard your name 20 years ago, and now you’re one of the most frequently discussed health disorders in history. Some people swear you don’t exist, and that’s how I know you’re the damn devil. People who don’t necessarily feel you don’t seem to grasp—no, some don’t even believe—that you warrant any merit. That’s because to them, you’re just that. A feeling. For those that simply “feel anxiety” in a situational context, you can be stomached and put away until that...

Keep Reading

To My Son With Autism: You Will Not Be Stopped

In: Fatherhood, Tough Times

Kash, It’s been over four years since your mom and I found out we were going to have a baby. I remember when she told me. I was excited, but I was freaking out too. I always wanted a son or daughter. That was what I was excited about. I was nervous, because of the troubles your mother and I had trying to have a baby. We had miscarriages, and we had done testing. We did not know if having a child was in the cards for us. You changed all that. We found out we were going to have...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband: I Love You, But Please Don’t Ever Drink Again

In: Marriage, Tough Times

Right now you are curled up behind me like a cuddly question mark. Your body heat is more than enough to suppress the slight chill in the air. Just a few memories ago, the bed was cold with me lying alone in it. You were out somewhere drinking. Or maybe you were just drunk in the next room. Either way, I was alone. Right now the oven timer is going off. It’s late but I have Amish bread to pull out of the oven. I sidle away from you out of bed and into the dimly lit kitchen. The whole...

Keep Reading

Hilarious New Ryan Reynolds Ad Nails 2020

In: Tough Times, Work

FINALLY, the commercial that 2020 deserves. Celebrity star Ryan Reynolds and his production company, Maximum Effort, have teamed up with dating service Match.com and pop icon Taylor Swift to make a commercial for the dating service that perfectly captures everything relatable and frankly, hellish, about 2020. Honestly, it doesn’t matter if you’re married or single, I promise you everyone can find something relatable about this hilarious spin on our collective suffering. The commercial, aptly titled “Match Made In Hell,” begins with Satan (Aaron Reed) hanging out in hell looking totally bored when his phone starts buzzing, notifying him he’s matched with...

Keep Reading

I’ll Always Miss My Dad, But I Hear From Him Every Christmas

In: Fatherhood, Tough Times

I picked up the phone to call my dad the other day. I was thinking about my car insurance bill, and wanted to ask him something. This wouldn’t be that unusual for most people, except my father passed away almost 15 years ago. I think I’ve been through 10 cell phones since he died, so his number is long erased, yet I hit the button for Siri on my phone and stated “Call Dad” like it was completely normal. Every December, my dad comes back to my thoughts with the force of a wrecking ball through my mind. It may...

Keep Reading